Our commencement speakers! Or do we? Based on Berkeley’s track record of late, we’re not so sure. Granted, we’re not graduating this year and we didn’t attend commencement last year, but compared with the likes of one President Barack Obama, the founder of the Webby Awards is a little–how do we put this–meh. (Please. We were all thinking it.)

We mean, we’re sure alumna Tiffany Shlain is a very nice lady, and we have nothing but respect for people who are firmly aboard the interweb train, but read more »

357240460_d2eb6da658We’ll admit it, we’re a little bit bitter. The Daily Cal announced today that Chris Gardner, author of the memoir-later-turned-Will Smith film “The Pursuit of Happyness” will be this year’s graduation commencement speaker. Meanwhile, Steven Chu–Berkeley Professor, former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and recently appointed Secretary of Energy–will speak at Harvard’s commencement.

So Steven Chu–currently in the pursuit of alternative and renewable sources of energy and formerly director of LBNL–will be giving a speech to some Ivies over on the East Coast and Gardner–who lives in Chicago–will trek over to the West Coast to talk to us. So we get the ex-homeless guy who quotes dudes who can’t spell and Harvard gets the schmancy scientist man-turned-member-of-the-Cabinet. Isn’t this a waste of energy? read more »

It’s been a long time coming.

After two commencement speakers bailed on our graduation here at Cal for the last two years (yeah, remember Fabian Nunez last year?), UC has finally reached an agreement with AFSCME (a labor union acronym with a really long name).

Custodians here at UC Berkeley will receive a $1.25 per hour pay hike retroactive from April 1 and will get an extra $0.50 an hour starting Oct. 1.

Supposedly, UC has been wanting to up the pay for its lower-paid workers for a really long time now. At least that’s what UC spokesperson Nicole Savickas said.

bq. We’ve been wanting to give raises to all our lower-paid employees. It’s been a long process and it was just recently that we were able to come to this compromise. It’s unfortunate that this had to disrupt the commencements.

Really? UC has “been wanting to give raises”? What was stopping UC from giving these workers this pay hike?

And Danny Glover did contact the union president. What did he say?

bq. He said, “Congratulations!”

Awesome. You did your part, Danny. So when are we going to get Lethal Weapon 5?

UC settles pay dispute with custodians [Mercury-News]

The Daily Cal reports that the commencement speaker has been named. We hope you’re not in a crowded room when you read this: Danny Glover.

As a university that considers itself above paying commencement speakers and awarding honorary degrees, UC Berkeley is left to have whoever will come. And we’re picky about it, too. After last year’s commencement when State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez didn’t cross a union picket line to deliver the address promised, the committee avoided any persons with political affiliations.

What we’re left with is an underwhelming name who, in addition to his success in the Lethal Weapon franchise, graduated from San Francisco State only to later be awarded an honorary degree in Fine Arts from the same institution. We can’t give you an honorary degree, but you’re totally qualified if you got one from somewhere else!

As underwhelming as the candidate is, the potential candidate list is even worse. It’s like a Hollywood party that would never happen:

Oprah: I’d love to come speak at UC Berkeley, but I’m too busy supporting schools in Africa.
Anderson Cooper: It’s true, I reported it last night on “Anderson Cooper 360.” I also write my own books about being a journalist. I would captivate the crowd with my piercing eyes, as blue as the jeans my heiress mother used to be in commercials for.
Bono: Don’t buy jeans, America. Buy (RED) products. Save the world through your consumption.
Bill Cosby: Oh, no! Bono’s sunglasses are off. He’s getting sunstroke! Call a doctor!
George Clooney: I can help. I played one on TV.
Ellen DeGeneres: Why don’t we all take a break from this serious stuff. Look! Kristi Yamaguchi is doing a double axle.
Kristi Yamaguchi (while doing double axle): Weeeeee.
Tom Hanks: I’d be a great speaker. I’ve been in very serious movies about war and the digital age. Did you see me in You’ve Got Mail? That’s totally relevant to the Facebook generation.
Baba Wawa: I could do an interview with Magic Johnson and read back to an audience with boring facial expressions and stoic body language.
Magic Johnson: Or I could just talk for myself.
Denzel Washington: I hope people don’t get me confused with that “Grey’s” hater since I haven’t had a good movie since Remember the Titans.
Jon Stewart: And there you have it, your moment of zen.

Film Actor Chosen to Speak at Graduation [Daily Cal]